CFL Looking at an Earlier Season?

CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon is apparently looking for feedback from fans in the CFL for the possibility of starting the season for teams in June and making the Grey Cup game for the end of October?

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I for one don't really care, either way is fine with me, I think the colder/snowy weather in November adds to the drama of the Canadian Game and makes it unique when you consider that five teams out of the current eight team league are outdoors and open to the elements. An earlier start might decrease the chances of getting poor weather but out West you never know I remember a game last year 2012 between Hamilton and Calgary at McMahon Stadium in late October that had snow, so you never know.

I think a bigger consideration especially at Grey Cup time is making sure that the host City has enough hotel rooms and accommodation for fans. I hear one of the problems in Regina for many fans coming into the City for the game is a shortage of rooms, any host City should not have this problem but you can see it with smaller markets. Larger Cities like Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto have more than enough hotels to support the demand.

Instead of fixing what's not broken he should focus on Officiating,Toronto market,new CBA and expansion draft. Just maybe :wink:

Great idea to start earlier and Grey Cup at end of October. Wife and me were talking about this and would make it more attractive to go to cold CFL cities out west for the Grey Cup and actually do some hiking and that as part of a week vacation. No way at the end of November, too much chance for snow and cold, as we see this year. We can’t justify spending that much money to basically just be in a city for a couple of days and not do sight seeing outside of the city and outside. And I think this is a priority actually but that’s just my perspective, perhaps most fans find it fine as is. Also, she doesn’t want to pay big bucks for a seat for what could be very cold weather at the Grey Cup at the end of November.

Toronto market to me is the lowest on the totem pole as a Cohon issue, as I think Braley is doing all he can there to secure a new stadium and development and new ownership group. Cohon won’t have much say in this, I’m sure he’s leaving this up to Braley.

In contemporary times, with the advent of the big screen TV and home entertainment systems available, fewer spectators are willing to brave the elements, especially sub zero temperatures, in order to attend games live.

The temperature in Regina is currently hovering at -20 (-30 with the windchill) which could be dangerous territory for children and the elderly or at the very least extremely uncomfortable over the course of a game.
and it is also quite plausible that the highly anticipated Western Final rivalry game in Calgary was not a sellout in part due to the inclement weather.

Nothing wrong with a chilly outdoor game, although sitting for 3-4 hours in absurdly frigid hypothermia inducing temperatures are unnecessary and ill-preferred if possible.

If an earlier schedule will entice more fans to the park then it may be a good idea to do so, and nearly 70% of those surveyed agree.
the fans have spoken.

Another thing the league should look at if not starting the season early would be to start the game itself early. 5:00 start in Saskatchewan drops the temperature by 5-10 degrees.

While I agree that an earlier season shouldn't be a pressing issue for Cohon, I also think that it's perfectly reasonable to move the season up to take advantage of better weather in playoff games. Fans today may not be as willing to brave subzero temperatures to see the same football game they could enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Also, I think it's stupid that certain teams get a significant playoff advantage due only to the accident of living in a cold city.

More accurately, the survey revealed that nearly 70% believe the season should be earlier, while an additional 10% are in favor of indoor/dome only Grey Cup games.
that leaves only approx. 20% who wish to keep the status quo.

More than ever, fans today prefer comfort and the CFL may have to adapt in order to attract and appease the ticket buying public.

The problem with summer football in June, July, and August is it's during cottage season in Canada, which hurts the attendance prior to Labour Day. ??

i'm all for starting the season earlier...just not 2014, as there are 2 new stadiums opeinging which might not be ready for july. starting earlier next year would realy mess up the opening of lansdowne and THF.

another thing to consider; thanksgiving weekend would have playoff football instead of regular season games.
could that boost ratings and attendance? playoff football on a long weekend, where people can watch or attend on a sunday knowing they have the monday off?

I agree with the earlier season, at the very least the final should be earlier in the day. Why play the game with no sun in the winter. If the game is outdoors than the game should start no later than 3pm local time.
The issue with earlier is by how much. Too early, the cfl would be launching in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Also, I don't think we want the Grey Cup to land on Halloween or Rememberance Day weekends.

So lets change the entire league operations because the CFL is holding a GC game in an unsuitable location :roll:
June is hockey playoff time. Makes no sense to compete with that and I'm CERTAIN TSN will want no part of it after paying the league a premium for the content.

If the season starts the first of June, that's only about 2 weeks left of NHL playoffs. Not much. And how often do Canadian teams even make the final? Not often. Also the Blue Jays start in April and have to compete with the SC playoffs, even some of the regular season. They manage.

Overlooked in the issue is the start of training camp conflicting with the end of the University 2nd semester. To start the league a month early in June means TC will be in may. Unlike many of the top NFL draft picks from the Ncaa these kids in the CIS actully finish there schooling and will be taking finals during TC

first off, the NHL season is beyond ludicrous at 8 months in length and needs to be shortened.
Hockey should not be played in balmy June, (nor May for that matter) but that is another story altogether.

and second, the NHL season usually ends by the first week in June providing the CFL with a 3 week window to back date the schedule.
A three week rollback can still make a measurable difference in weather temps during the playoffs/Grey Cups.

Now if the NHL would come to it’s senses and just shorten the season…

tangledweb wrote: Now if the NHL would come to it's senses and just shorten the season...
Amen to that tangle. :thup:

Cohon was speaking without thinking. The season is already starting one week earlier with the 20-week schedule next year. Regular season games will start the 3rd week of June. Training camps in 2014 will start in May. That is early enough. Many fans don't follow the CFL as closely during the summer and consider Labour Day the real start to the season. Attendance and TV ratings increase after Labour Day.

Another factor is giving the NFL two extra weeks in the Fall without CFL competition. More CFL fans will then follow the NFL for those two extra weeks, cultivating the NFL audience in Canada (with some CFL fans getting more attached to the NFL and might just skip the CFL next year). Starting two weeks earlier also puts CFL games in direct competition with the Stanley Cup Finals. Currently the Stanley Cup ends just as the CFL is starting up, which is perfect timing and a perfect fit for Canadian sports fans.

The CFL has seen tremendous growth and interest under the current format. Fans have been attending Canadian football games in November for 150 years, HDTV screens or not. There is no need to experiment with the CFL schedule. :roll:

That would be my worry. Plus there's already an impression that the real season doesn't start till Labour Day, but if the season starts 3 weeks earlier, some teams (I'm a Bomber fan) might be out of the running already by then.

The idea of more exhibition games should be part of this discussion too.

It's cottage season for all of the baseball teams in NA as well. I think people say that about any league, the real season starts about half way through the regular schedule. Like the Masters Golf, the tournament is won on the back nine on Sunday, so the saying goes.

2 ex games is sufficient, I hate ex games in any sport having to pay for these if I'm a season ticket holder.

This is a great idea I was thinking about this back in the 80's cause November can be such harsh weather especially in the praires. I truly believe in order to get more fans to games its either get domes stadiums or change the schedule, the later is much easier to accomplish. I don't think TSN would care it doesn't effect them, Stanley Cup Final is in June but not on TSN, and October and November for NHL games is pretty much the same. Yes fans do go to the cottage in the summer, but thats where proper promotions and marketing take place to ensure the many fans that are in town come to the games and there are lots more than enough to fill stadiums. Its easier to fill a stadium to watch an afternoon or evening football game in the heat then in the chilly cold fall at times. It seems the weather takes a dive as soon as the playoffs do so Im all for ending the in late October. It just means the Vanier Cup will have to play separate, sadly playing with the Grey Cup helps the CIS, but then its either then start their season earlier or they can play until late November.

Very happy Mr Cohen is looking into this

All they need to do is have teams in Edmonton Winnipeg and Saskatchewan finish their last two weeks of the season on the road maybe put their by in the last month of the season. Don't inconvenience the whole league for that.